NEWSLETTER migrantsicily – September 2012

  • Another tragedy in the Mediterranean: 80 people missing off Lampione
  • Stop tragedies in the Mediterranean- protests in Europe and Tunisia
  • Giusi Nicolini receives death threats and Lampedusa’s Anti-Racist Groups are subjected to intimidation tactics
  • Tensions continue in the Sicilian Centres

tragedy in the Mediterranean: 80 people missing off Lampione

left from Sfax, Tunisia. But only 56 arrived in Lampedusa. On
the night of the 6th September, yet another tragedy took place in the
sea near Lampedusa. The survivors said the boat started taking on
water until it finally sank. 56 managed to survive by gripping to the
rocks of the uninhabited island of Lampione, 10 miles from Lampedusa.
From the outset, the Italian authorities began to question whether
they were dealing with a genuine sinking and hypothesised on the
possibility that the migrants were told to get into the water by
whoever was in charge of the boat. So far, five bodies have been
found, but no trace whatsoever of a sunken ship. Family members of
the missing are speaking out against the length of time the Italian
authorities took to respond to the call for help.

only was there the tragedy that occurred near Lampione, but September
was also a month of arrivals on Lampedusa:

also in eastern Sicily:

tragedies in the Mediterranean- protests in Europe and Tunisia

happened on September
6th was the latest of many tragedies that continue to occur in the
Mediterranean. The number of dead and missing from this catastrophe
can be added to the already high figure of those who have died or
been lost at sea since the beginning of 2012. In the period between
January and September 2012, 270 people have died or gone missing in
the Sicilian Channel. The figure for the same period for the whole of
the Mediterranean is 464. In 2011 alone, the figure was 2,352.

the sinking near Lampione, the families of the missing took to the
streets in Tunisia. The protests spread quickly throughout the
country, with many towns and cities taking part. In the city of El
Fahs, there was a general strike. The protesters were asking for the
search for bodies to continue and for their right to have information
about their loved ones to be respected. The protests also reflect the
discontent that has been spreading throughout the country since the
revolution. The people are angry that after all the blood that was
spilt to overthrow Ben Alì’s regime, today it is still necessary for
the young to risk their lives at sea in order to leave the country.
Various initiatives were also organised in France and in Tunisia in
order to raise awareness of the situation and to commemorate those
who had lost their lives. The Palermo Anti-Racist Forum took part in
a rally alongside the brother of one of the victims.

German with accompanying photos)

with Imed Kamoun, brother of one of the missing:

Nicolini receives death threats and Lampedusa’s Anti-R
Groups are subjected to intimidation tactics

is the acronym which signed off the note, in full mafia style, which
claimed responsibility for the arson attack on a boat belonging to
the Askavusa association. GALL stands for Gruppo Armato Lampedusa
Libera (The Armed Free Lampedusa Group). Askavusa had managed to get
hold of the boat and had intended to turn it into a memorial place on
the island. Only a few days prior to this attack, the mayor of
Lampedusa, Giusi Nicolini, had herself been the victim of a boorish
and shocking assault for comments made during an interview with
Adnkronos. Referring to the tragedy that occurred off Lampione, the
mayor had said, “We hope that the boats arrive,” intending
that she wanted to see
migrants arriving alive. These comments, however, sparked a series of
racist and fascist insults on an internet website, along with
explicit death threats. Borderline Sicilia pledges its support and
solidarity to the Askavusa association and the mayor of Lampedusa,
Giusi Nicolini.

continue in the Sicilian Centres

are almost used to hearing about riots in the Centres and escape
attempts on a daily basis.
This month we returned to the Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers
(Cara) in Salina Grande, which in recent months has played host to a
variety of clashes. Consequently, there is currently an extremely
large military presence in the Cara, despite the fact that it is
merely a Centre for asylum seekers.

the Immigrant Detention Centre in Caltanissetta, which only recently
re-opened, a riot broke out which led to some migrants escaping.
There were two arrests. The migrants were protesting against the
conditions within the Centre.

riots also continue, this time in the First Reception Centre in
Pozzallo, which for all accounts and purposes has become a Detention
Centre for Tunisians who arrive in Lampedusa and then undergo
collective refoulement. The two most recent riots, which occurred at
the end of August and the beginning of September, led to several
arrests. Entry to the hangar continues to be forbidden, even to
members of the Praesidium organisation, despite their agreement with
the Minister of the Interior.